Vehicle Access Safety – How to Avoid Falls From Vehicles

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Three million people in Great Britain work on or near vehicles everyday as part of their work. Logistics companies load and unload heavy parcels day in day out. In the work year of 2009/2010, 328 major injuries occurred and 249 of these accidents required more than 3 days off work.

Some may believe that companies regularly accessing vehicles do not need to worry about working at height regulations as the majority of work being carried out is below head height. This is incorrect.

If work is being carried out at any height where it is possible that somebody could fall a distance, likely to cause personal injury, precautions must be taken to avoid risks. The majority of injuries reported to HSE (Health & Safety Executive) were injuries from vehicles below head height, remember you don’t have to fall very far to land hard and cause serious damage.

It is important to minimise risk when possible. On the HSE Website there is a hierarchy of controls to minimise the risks of a fall. These controls are as follows;

  • Plan to avoid working at heights where you can
  • Where you can’t avoid working at height you can - Install a vehicle-based-systems or Use an on-site system

Where risk of a fall cannot be eliminated, use work equipment to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall. Always consider measures that protect everyone at risk (eg platforms and guardrails) before measures that only protect the individual, for example, a safety harness.

To minimise risk at height from vehicles even further you should also;

  • Avoid the need for climbing onto trailers where possible
  • Provide steps and handholds where access is still required
  • Look for safety features when buying a new vehicle
  • Try different types of footwear to see which provides most slip-resistance for the environment employees will be working in;
  • Don’t jump from a truck cab or trailer. 

Ladders or steps can be an easy access solution to aid you to get in and out of vehicles easier and safely. When using ladders or steps for vehicle access it is important that they are well built, properly maintained and securely fitted. Ladders or steps that are being used should slope inwards, where possible you should avoid using suspended steps and Definitely Not ladders made of chains. Rungs or steps that have been fitted to a vehicle must; be level and conformable to use, have a non-slip surface and not allow the build-up of mud, grease or oil.

At we have a wide range of access equipment available including vehicle access ladders and platforms

The Klime-Ezee Truck-Dock Platform is ideal for loading and unloading operations and is suitable for warehouse and outdoor use. The Klime-Ezee Truck-Dock Platform is manufactured with strengthened heavy duty treads and comes with chain access to all three sides of a platform. This Truck-Dock Platform has a 300kg safe working load and is easy to manoeuvre by the central bar ‘No Access’ breaking system.

The Loadstep Vehicle Access Ladder enables easy access to the bed of any goods vehicle. The Loadstep Access Ladder is supplied with easily installed brackets and locks for secure storage on the vehicle and a single handrail for safe step through on to and off the lorry bed. This is an industrial-strength ladder that can be used all around a vehicle, accommodating a variety of ground and load levels.

If you are unsure about which equipment to use or have any questions regarding safe access to your vehicle don’t hesitate to contact our expert team or give us a call on 01204 590 232. 

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